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Halifax Regional Municipality tables "no tax increase" budget for 2013-14 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 (Halifax, NS) - Today, HRM Chief Administrative Officer Richard Butts tabled the proposed 2013-14 municipal budget. This year’s proposed budget reduces the overall tax burden for citizens through a tax rate decrease of 1.5 per cent for both the residential and commercial general rates, no increase to the transit tax rate, and the final phase out of the Business Occupancy Tax.

“The Audit and Finance Standing Committee gave staff clear direction to hold the line on taxes and to increase service in Council’s priority areas including transit and economic development,” said CAO Richard Butts. “We were able to meet this challenge by allocating a portion of the $26 million surplus from 2012-13 towards this year’s budget, and reducing overall spending by $16 million through organizational efficiencies that helped manage expected inflationary and wage increases.”

At the Committee’s ’s direction, HRM has changed the way commercial taxes are calculated by linking commercial tax revenue to HRM’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) instead of the residential tax rate. Combined with this year’s 1.5 per cent rate decrease, this approach increases total commercial tax revenues by 1.8 per cent, with the increase attributable to property expansions and construction.

An $821 million gross operating budget and $165 million gross project budget are being proposed for 2013-14.

During the presentation, Mr. Butts highlighted how the proposed budget maintains a state of good repair for streets, roads and sidewalks with increased spending for new transit technology and terminal infrastructure, enhanced access to youth recreation programming, completion of the Regional Plan five-year review, and a renewed focus on enhancing downtown streetscapes.

“We continue to focus on improving public transit by providing new services such as the MetroX 370 Porters Lake commuter route, expanded service on the Woodside-Halifax ferry route, new technology that will enable improved data driven decision making and enhance the overall passenger experience, and a public engagement process on transit’s new five-year strategic plan,” said Mr. Butts.

Overall, the proposed 2013-14 operating budget is up $31.2 million over last year, including $14.8 million in service increases and enhancements, $8.5 million in budget transfers and inflationary costs, and $7.9 million for mandatory education and provincial transfers.

“This year’s budget stays on track to reduce HRM’s debt per household by paying for maintenance and upgrades as we go rather than incurring more debt to do so,” said Chief Financial Officer Greg Keefe. “Through efficiencies and a commitment to maintaining a state of good repair, we’ve slowed expenditure growth and reduced the overall cost of government despite rising cost pressures.”

Regional Council will begin debates on the proposed 2013-14 budgets at today’s regular meeting of Council, which is live streamed at Subsequent meetings will be held later this week if required.

For more information on the 2013-14 budgets visit


Media contacts:

Richard Butts, Chief Administrative Officer
Halifax Regional Municipality

Greg Keefe, Chief Financial Officer
Halifax Regional Municipality



Above content last modified Thursday, November 02, 2023 at 11:40am.